Friday, May 9, 2014

Makeup Printers?

(Could I get the video to embed? Could I hell. Watch here)
Grace Choi was at Harvard Business School when she decided to disrupt the beauty industry. She did a little research and realized that beauty brands create and then majorly mark up their products by mixing lots of colors.
Choi created her own mini home 3D printer, Mink, that will retail for $300 and allow anyone to print makeup by ripping the color code off color photos on the internet. It hooks up to a computer, just like a normal printer. Business Insider
Well, would you look at that? What an interesting idea. Think of all the fun you could have on the Pantone website with that. (N.B. Look at this amazing pre-Pantone book of all the colours. I bet the artist was a riot at dinner parties. I legit mean that btw, I would totally sit next to them). Think of the possibilities for true custom match foundations. WOC could escape an industry aggressively biased against them and create their own colours!

As a lover of obscure colours and a makeup fan I am listening intently but there are many questions the panel left unasked:
  • Why are we all men?? Obviously a female perspective would be useful when discussing a makeup product but wouldn’t it also be useful when discussing any business start-up ever?
  • Please can you crack the pan to show us that the shadow is pigmented throughout?
  • Why are you discounting the critical importance of formula? Colour is hardly the only reason make up can be expensive. Tom Ford lipsticks may be aggressively overpriced and, sure, you’re paying crazy money for colour and branding and packaging but they are legitimately a bzillion times better than budget lipsticks. And I say that as a lover of budget lipsticks. I wear lots of cheap lipsticks and they are fun and versatile but my True Coral is smoother, softer, more flattering, longer lasting and kinder on my lips than anything else I own. If you have $300 to spend on a makeup printer, you have $30 to spend on a beautiful eyeshadow that isn’t chalky and doesn’t drop, crease or melt.
  • If you are hyping the colour possibilities of your machine and you can print any colour in the world why would you print crappy pink as your demonstration?? That has got to be one of the few colours the cheap beauty world is literally overflowing with. You could have had burnt sienna or ‘radiant orchid’ or dove grey or anything else ever…
  • Will you be able to print shot colours? Shimmers? Metallics?
  • Presumably you will only be able to print pans? You couldn’t print a lipstick bullet or a bottle of cream foundation in a standard inkjet, no matter how generously modified.
  • Would the bases be customisable? Could you choose satin vs. matte lipsticks, dewy vs. silk foundations, SPFs etc?
  • How many under 21 year olds have $300 to blow on a Make Your Own Makeup Kit? How many under 35 year olds for that matter??
  • Given the extortionate cost of bog standard printer ink how on earth are you going to make skin safe ink available at a reasonable price? Given that you can get a Collection 2000/17/Miss Sporty/Barry M pressed powder (admittedly not v good but in a reasonable range of colours if not super exciting) how are you going to compete?
Many sensible and legitimate questions. I would want answers to all of those before I invested my giant pile of non-existent money. Still, intriguing and I wish her well.  Young female entrepreneurs + women gaining some personal control of the beauty industry = good news.

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